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You attribute the gender gap to a growing trend of apostasy among Mormon men. Phillips: There has been a general secularizing trend in the United States for the past 25 years.People are abandoning organized religion in large numbers, and those with no denominational affiliation now constitute about 20% of the population.
Both scholars are past presidents of the Mormon Social Science Association.– JKR RNS: You note that Mormonism has the worst sex imbalance ratio of any church except the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
But in the latest Pew Religious Landscape Survey, 36% of respondents raised LDS have abandoned their faith.
Just as women outnumber men in conservative denominations, men substantially outnumber women among those abandoning religion. Also, this trend in religious disaffiliation is most pronounced among young people in their late teens and early 20s, which is a datum that is important to remember.
We suggest that the mandate to serve a mission forces the hand of young men in Utah, and essentially “outs” those who don’t want to go as less committed to the church.
Being thusly “outed” then lowers the costs of, and provides a pathway for, eventual disaffection.
This is precisely the age when religiosity is at its nadir.
In the past, social pressure to serve a mission prompted many young men in Utah with marginal religious commitment to bite the bullet and go.We began to investigate sex ratios in the church when we compared data from two large censuses of religious bodies, one conducted in 1990 and the other in 2008.The data show that between these two censuses, the proportion of self-identified Latter-day Saints that were female increased rather dramatically … Outside Utah and Mormon strongholds in the Intermountain West, sex ratios within the church remained stable, and were closer to parity than in Utah.Associates at work, school, and in the community are also likely to be co-religionists in this setting.This fuses church and community norms, and makes violating church standards subject to disapproval and sanction in non-church settings.Utah’s Mormon majority has always fostered a unique religious subculture.